Food highlights:

  • Best stored in fridge
  • Fat-free
  • Good source of fibre
  • Good source of: Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • low fat 0.3g 0.3%
  • low sat fat 0.1g 0.1%
  • low salt 4mg 0%
  • low sugar 3.0g 3.0%
*As guideline of daily recommended intake per 100g

Bamboo shoots

Crunchy bamboo shoots are a favourite ingredient in many Asian cuisines. They are high in fibre and contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. Bamboo shoots are available fresh from Asian food markets but must be boiled before eating. They are also sold in cans in supermarkets.

What are bamboo shoots?

The creamy colour and subtle, corn-like flavour of bamboo shoots is popular in many Asian cuisines, from Japan to Singapore. Sayur lodeh, a popular Indonesian and Malaysian dish, is a coconut soup of vegetables and crunchy bamboo shoots infused with spices.

The traditional use of bamboo shoots in cooking spans many centuries. Fermented bamboo shoots are eaten in the Himalayas and a dish consisting of black-eyed beans and pickled bamboo shoots (aloo bodi tama) is a delicacy served in Nepalese restaurants around the world.

There are various species of bamboo that are harvested for their shoots.

Why bamboo shoots are good to eat

Bamboo shoots contain phytochemicals, which have antibacterial and antiviral effects in the body.
They are a good source of dietary fibre.
Bamboo shoots contain potassium, important for a healthy heart and to maintain normal blood pressure.
Energy – 100 g of raw bamboo shoots supplies about 100 kJ.

How are they grown and harvested?

Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world and can be invasive, so it needs to be contained or it will take over your garden. You can do this by digging a trench and placing a barrier (such as corrugated iron sheeting) below ground.

Bamboo shoots are the young, new shoots that are harvested for food, usually no more than two weeks after they have emerged. You will need a sharp trowel or knife to cut them from the ground.

Choosing bamboo shoots

Edible bamboo shoots are harvested in either winter or spring. The spring shoots are larger and tougher than those harvested in winter. Choose bamboo shoots that are bright, with undamaged leaves. Fresh bamboo shoots are tastier than canned shoots.

How to store and keep bamboo shoots

Store your fresh, unpeeled bamboo shoots in the crisper section of your fridge. They can be kept for about two weeks. If you keep them longer, they may develop a bitter taste.

How to use

  • Peel and boil fresh bamboo shoots for 20 minutes before using – raw shoots are bitter and hard to digest.
  • Shred fresh bamboo shoots and use in a stir-fry with other vegetables, garlic, ginger, chilli, lemongrass and coriander leaf.
  • Serve bamboo shoots as a side dish with fish or meat – pour a sauce of melted butter, flour and grated cheese over boiled and sliced bamboo shoots, then bake and sprinkle with paprika before serving.

Content Partner

This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Better Health Channel

Last updated: October 2015

Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not in any way endorse or support such therapy, service, product or treatment and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. The information and materials contained on this website are not intended to constitute a comprehensive guide concerning all aspects of the therapy, product or treatment described on the website. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions and to ascertain whether the particular therapy, service, product or treatment described on the website is suitable in their circumstances. The State of Victoria and the Department of Health & Human Services shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website.